Structure Type: built works - dwellings -public accommodations - hotels

Designers: [unspecified]

Dates: constructed 1865, demolished 1883

2 stories

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James Street, Mill Street and First Avenue
Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA

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Intersection James Street, Mill Street (later Yesler Way) and First Avenue

Building History

In 03/1865, three Seattle men--Amos Brown, John S. Condon and M.R. Maddocks--opened the Occidental Hotel #1, the first hotel to occupy this triangular plot of land in Pioneer Square at the intersections of James Street, Mill Street and Front Street, the commercial heart of 19th century Seattle. (Authors disagree on the date of the Occidental Hotel #1. Clarence Bagley, in his History of Seattle from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Volume 2, [Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1916] p. 665, indicated a date of 1865; Paul Dorpat, in his article, "Occidental Hotel: The Rise, Fall, Rise, and Fall of Pioneer Square's Historic Hotel -- A Slide Show Photo Essay," placed the the opening date in 1861. SeeAccessed 08/18/2009.) In 09/1865, Seattle businessman John Collins (1835-1903) purchased Brown's stake in the hotel; Collins gained his wealth from diverse investments in real estate, railroad stock and mining shares; he gradually took control of the property from his co-owners; looking for greater profit, he demolished the Occidental Hotel #1 in 1883 and erected Seattle's first upscale hotel, the larger Occidental Hotel #2 in 1884; this first Occidental Hotel had a wooden frame, a dangerous method of construction for hotels in the 19th century, due to the constant risk of fire. Ironically, it was the Occidental Hotel #2, which burned in the Great Seattle Fire of 06/06/1889.

Building Notes

The original Occidental Hotel was a wood-framed, cross-gabled structure, 2 stories tall, with a double-height front porch. O.T. Frasch published a postcard of the Occidental Hotel #1 in 1911 bearing the caption: "President Hayes addresseing Seattle's entire population in [sic] 1881 where Hotel Seattle now stands." (See O.T. Frasch postcard #853, 1911; Hayes actually visited Seattle, WA, on 10/11/1880.)

Demolished; the first Occidental Hotel was razed in 1883. The Occidental Hotel #2 took its place.

PCAD id: 4550